National parks are always nice to visit, in whatever country you are travelling. Thailand has a park too: Khao Sok National Park. It’s situated in the south-west of Thailand and consists of jungle, caves, water falls, view points, mountains and a gorgeous lake. In this Khao Sok blog, I will try to cover most of the questions you might have about travelling to this beautiful piece of nature in Thailand.
What is Khao Sok National Park?
The National Park is situated in the Changwat Surat Thani province. It’s known for its undeniably beautiful surroundings, its age and a huge diversity in wildlife. The park is around 739 km2 and was officially founded in 1980. However, the area is estimated to be around 160 million years old. It’s one of the oldest rain forests in the whole world. It’s the natural habitat of a wide range of wildlife, for example leopards, elephants, bears, several species of monkeys, various reptiles and countless species of birds.
Where to go in Khao Sok?
Well, that totally depends on your personal preferences, although I must admit most tours offer more or less the same itineraries. This is what we did:
1) Boat tour on the Cheow Lan Lake
Khao Sok Cheow Lan Lake is probably the most beautiful lake in Thailand. It’s surrounded by sky high rocks, made of limestone. Some of these are almost 900m high! The boat takes you over the lake and you will be able to see dense forests, little islands and, if you are lucky, some gibbons or other wildlife.
2) Relaxing and tubing at the jungle huts on Khao Sok Cheow Lake
The boat takes you to these little jungle huts which are floating on the Khao Sok Cheow Lake. You can grab yourself a kayak or a tube, or go for a swim. This is also the place where you will be staying the night, if you book an overnight tour.
3) Hiking through the jungle
After some relaxing and swimming you get dropped off in one of the forests to go for a hike. If you are lucky, you will be able to see some wildlife. A guide will lead you through the dense forest, to little ponds, and eventually to a water cave. Time for some Lara-Croft-style exploring!
4) Going fully Lara Croft in the Nam Talu water cave
This is so incredibly awesome. The guide hands out some head lights so you will be able to see. Because it’s actually pitch black dark in the Nam Talu cave. The cave is half under water, and there are waterfalls inside which you have to climb. It’s some serious canyoning, but inside a cave in your bikini. Fun stuff!
Edit 18-07-2018: Due to the Thai soccer team that got stuck in a similar cave, I did some extra research and found out a flash flood went through the Nam Talu Cave once as well, and killed 8 people. Knowing that now, I would probably not go back in there anymore, and definitely not in or near the rainy season.
Grainy photo: GoPro Hero 3 isn’t really suitable for pics in the dark. But you can see the excitement on my face 😛
What accommodation to choose in Khao Sok National Park?
If you book an overnight tour, you will be staying in the beforementioned floating huts. These are equipped extremely basic. You only have a mattress to sleep on, and that’s about it. There’s a sanitary building a little deeper in the forest, so if you have to go for a pee, you could encounter some spiders and other animals.
We chose not to stay in the Khao Sok National Park, but we stayed in a jungle hut in the village near the park. Khao Sok Jungle Huts Resort treated us well, the view is amazing and the beds are comfy. However, you are still in a little village with a bar and small supermarket.
When to visit Khao Sok National Park?
Keep in mind that you are visiting a rain forest, so expect to get wet (not only in that water cave 😉 ). The Khao Sok National Park is actually the wettest place in Thailand. Don’t let that keep you from visiting it, because it’s definitely worth it! When I was there, we had some downpour, but only once at night and once while we were having dinner at our accommodation. The rest of the time it was mostly blue skies and sunshine.
Anyway: if I have to give you some advice, the best time to visit Khao Sok must be somewhere from the end of November to about April. It’s the least wet, the leeches and mosquitos have gone by then and all (or most) trails should be accessible.
Also check the best time to visit Thailand in general.
How to get to Khao Sok National Park?
The park itself is very accessible. You can easily get to Khao Sok from Krabi, Surat Thani and other popular cities and islands with a minivan or bus.
- From Krabi to Khao Sok: About 3 hours – 350 baht
- From Surat Thani to Khao Sok: About 2 hours – 250 baht (check exact price)
- From Koh Lanta: About 5 hours – 750 baht (this includes a ferry)
- From Bangkok to the national park: about 11 hours – 850 baht (check exact price)
If you are staying on f.e. Koh Tao, Koh Samui or Koh Phangan, you can easily book the complete journey to Khao Sok on these islands. The price includes the ferry to the main land.
Check your own itinerary and prices here:
A little bit of travel music: In one of those bars in the village we heard the following Thai reggae song, which to this day still reminds me of Khao Sok National Park.